Headlines: July 25th, 2002

The Public and Commercial Services Union is pleased with the benefits that have flowed from devolution to the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly. Union members range from typists to managers who work in Government Departments and Agencies, huge international companies such as EDS and small service providers. Pay negotiations have brought rewards in the form of a three year pay agreements. The finance ministry in Scotland recognised that pay had lagged behind the private sector and this resulted in significant improvements. Negotiators believe that the key element was the break from the Treasury in Whitehall, which they consider to be hidebound in working with unions. In Wales the result was increases of between 24 to 28 per cent for the three year period. The other major benefit has been working relations. Because Edinburgh and Cardiff are much smaller than London, networking has been improved. Devolution has brought greater access to senior politicians and officials. In Scotland Union officials work directly to 22 ministers, half of whom are in the cabinet. The finance minister also attended a group meeting.